Vail Resorts has been relentless in recent years in its pursuit of resorts to add to their portfolio. The most recent acquisition of Peak Resorts, set to close in fall 2019, will add a further 17 resorts to their collection. But one resort that’s on the market that they’re not interested in is Jay Peak, VT.
- Related: Former Jay Peak Resort, VT Owner Indicted On Federal Charges in Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Case
A number of other interested buyers have toured the resort, one of which being Denver based Alterra Mountain Company, who sell the Ikon Pass. Alterra already owns Tremblant ski resort in Quebec and Stratton in Vermont, so Jay Peak could offer them more of a foothold in the east coast ski market.
Michael Goldberg, Jay Peak’s court-appointed receiver, is seeking through the sale to recoup money for EB-5 investors who put money into the resort for massive upgrades over nearly a decade that have led to fraud allegations and criminal charges, reports VT Digger. Goldberg took control of the resort in 2016 after the US Securities and Exchange Commission accused former owner Ariel Quiros and his partner Bill Stenger of fraud. The SEC alleged Quiros and Stenger misused $200 million from foreign investors. Quiros was accused of personally profiting more than $50 million. The EB-5 program offers green cards to foreign investors in exchange for investing in projects in the United States that create jobs. Stenger and Quiros raised some $350 million for projects at Jay Peak, at Burke Mountain Resort, and in Newport.
At a meeting, Walter Elander, Jay Peak’s director of mountain planning and development talked about the sale progress, including visits by potential buyers, according to the meeting minutes.
“The first one is Ultara [sic], they possibly have the funds, second is FoSun (privately owned), third is Pacific Group, fourth is two different groups Snow Operating and a fund called Oz, fifth is AWH (privately owned),” the minutes stated. “He (Elander) stated Vale [sic] showed no interest in Jay Peak.”
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has valued Jay Peak at $42 million, and the town of Jay has the resort assessed on the grand list at $124 million. Both these numbers fall well short of the $200-million required to repay the resort’s E-5 investors in full.